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KNP, Manas face threats from dams: experts

By Staff reporter

GUWAHATI, Oct 22 � UNESCO, the apex body that monitors the status of World Heritage Sites, should take cognizance of the threats Kaziranga and Manas are likely to face from dams being constructed in adjoining Himalayan river systems.

The issue has been raised by experts who have studied the two National Parks and World Heritage Sites from close quarters and are also well acquainted with the ecology of the region.

Dr Partha J Das, and Dr Bibhab Talukdar of the conservation group Aaranyak, have underlined the role that UNESCO should play to ensure proper assessment of threats and impact from more than 160 dams which are coming up in Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan. All the rivers flow into the Assam plains and have helped shape the region�s natural environment.

In a note made available to the media, the authors have pointed out that both the National Parks belong to a region that is among the 34 biodiversity hotspots of the world.

Kaziranga may face serious threats when the flow of water from Siang, Debang, Lohit, and Sowansiri is affected by dams. The dams when completed would trigger changes in the flood cycles, cascading into adverse effects on the natural landscape.

The seasonal flood cycles would be replaced by high-flow and low-flow cycles after the dams become functional. This will impact the hydrology that helps maintain the complex ecology of Kaziranga.

Manas National Park, the other World Heritage Site of Assam would also face threats from existing and proposed dams in Bhutan. Dams on Kurichu and Mangdechu (planned) will have an effect on the Manas-Beki river system, the authors believe.

It is also mentioned that release of water from the Kurichu dam has wrought havoc in downstream areas, and the Manas Biosphere Reserve was among the areas which witnessed large-scale inundation on several occasions.

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KNP, Manas face threats from dams: experts

GUWAHATI, Oct 22 � UNESCO, the apex body that monitors the status of World Heritage Sites, should take cognizance of the threats Kaziranga and Manas are likely to face from dams being constructed in adjoining Himalayan river systems.

The issue has been raised by experts who have studied the two National Parks and World Heritage Sites from close quarters and are also well acquainted with the ecology of the region.

Dr Partha J Das, and Dr Bibhab Talukdar of the conservation group Aaranyak, have underlined the role that UNESCO should play to ensure proper assessment of threats and impact from more than 160 dams which are coming up in Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan. All the rivers flow into the Assam plains and have helped shape the region�s natural environment.

In a note made available to the media, the authors have pointed out that both the National Parks belong to a region that is among the 34 biodiversity hotspots of the world.

Kaziranga may face serious threats when the flow of water from Siang, Debang, Lohit, and Sowansiri is affected by dams. The dams when completed would trigger changes in the flood cycles, cascading into adverse effects on the natural landscape.

The seasonal flood cycles would be replaced by high-flow and low-flow cycles after the dams become functional. This will impact the hydrology that helps maintain the complex ecology of Kaziranga.

Manas National Park, the other World Heritage Site of Assam would also face threats from existing and proposed dams in Bhutan. Dams on Kurichu and Mangdechu (planned) will have an effect on the Manas-Beki river system, the authors believe.

It is also mentioned that release of water from the Kurichu dam has wrought havoc in downstream areas, and the Manas Biosphere Reserve was among the areas which witnessed large-scale inundation on several occasions.